BARC AID Rescue and Foster Program
BARC Aid – Plea and Response Policy
PURPOSE. BARC Animal Shelter & Adoptions has created an email subscription list and program with the primary purpose of providing increased animal placement for BARC dogs and cats that are sick, injured or not quite ready for adoptions. To achieve that purpose, a special email box, referred to as BARC.Aid is used to communicate information related to animals at BARC, and work directly with rescue groups and fosters to place animals with special needs.Our communication vehicle is email, as described below:
BARC.Aid@houstontx.gov - the email inbox at BARC that receives incoming email from interested fosters or rescue groups, with questions, concerns, or information.BARC Aid is used to email information to an email distribution list throughout the day, and is monitored for incoming inquiries and messages.
Various individual BARC staff members provide coverage for the BARC Aid email address daily, therefore it is imperative that all emails related to rescue efforts be sent directly to the BARC.Aid@houstontx.gov email address, and not to individual email addresses. Though responses may come from an individual or a rescue group may be working with a specific individual, it is imperative that emails include the BARC Aid email address in all correspondence related to foster or rescue efforts. Sending to an individual only may delay the response to critical email.
Intake. Animals come to BARC by one of two methods:
- Front Counter – citizens turn in stray animals they have found, or owned animals are surrendered to BARC for a variety of reasons (cost, move, behavior, etc.)
- Animal Control – the enforcement segment of BARC includes Animal Control Officers that respond to calls related to stray animals, and pick up these animals and bring them to BARC.
Evaluation. Medical evaluations and some basic testing are performed on all animals upon their intake to BARC. Additional evaluations occur by veterinary staff each morning and medical notes within the animals database record is updated. Once all medical notes are up to date, the list of animals with illness, injury or special conditions that may prevent these animals from being considered for adoption candidates, or may require intensive treatment outside of BARC before the animal can be considered for adoptions, a plea is emailed out to the email distribution list for review.
Stray Wait. All BARC animals, regardless of intake method or reason, are placed on a 5 day Stray Hold to allow their families a chance to reclaim them before they are put up for adoption, or released to a foster/rescue group and to provide adequate time to evaluate the animal’s total health and behavioral condition. When an owner has surrendered their owned pet, and the animal may be released prior to the expiration of the Stray Hold period. One other exception is if the animal has a critical injury or illness that requires intensive treatment, the veterinarian can sign off on an early release. During an early release, the foster/rescue may be required to bring the animal back to BARC if the owner is identified and wishes to claim the animal. The stray wait time is listed on the kennel card as “due out date” to signify the date that the animal is due out of the stray hold/evaluation period.
Plea. It is our greatest wish to place every animal through a life-giving channel. For this purpose, a plea email may be sent out for a variety of reasons:
- Sick, medical condition: these are typically animals that are high heartworm positive, and/or have skin conditions, malnutrition, or other illness that may prevent them from being considered for adoption candidates, or simply may require some intensive treatment outside of BARC before the animal can be evaluated and placed in the adoption suites.
- Injury: most animals with injuries require more intensive veterinary care than BARC can currently provide, and may have urgent needs.
- Breed: when a full breed animal is brought into BARC we use the plea process to alert the foster/rescue constituency of the animal’s breed, age, condition, etc. and contact specific breed rescue groups. BARC often performs this type of plea regardless of the animal’s adoptability.
- Length of Stay: We work very hard to not euthanize for lack of space and there are no time limits on how long an animal can stay with us. We give our animals the care and treatment they need to stay healthy and happy so they can be adopted into loving homes. Foster homes are a critical part of helping deal with shelter overcrowding, giving respite to the sick or those too young to adopt, and extra care or training to those that are overly stressed in our shelter. Pleas are sent out each Wednesday for animals that have been in our care at least 30 days or longer, and these animals are given at least five days from the time the plea is sent.
Medical Pleas for BARC animals are emailed to individuals and groups that are on our email distribution list each day from the BARC Aid email address. Additional pleas may be sent thereafter, and will be dependent on the day’s intake.
The pleas are identified in the subject line and will include information related to the type of plea:
SUBJECT: [Date] – Medical Plea (for all medically-based pleas)
SUBJECT: [Date] – Space Plea (for all space-related or pre-euth pleas of adoptable dogs/cats)
SUBJECT: [Date] – Breed Specific Plea (for all breed specific pleas)
SUBJECT: [Date] – Long-Term Resident Plea (for all long-term dogs/cats pleas)
All Plea emails include a copy of the kennel card as a screen shot. Any pleas that requires an urgent response will be identified with the word URGENT (in all caps) at the beginning of the subject line.
Once a plea has been sent for animals that are “pre-euth,” the animal is given at least 2 days for a rescue group or foster to retrieve from BARC. In some cases, the time may be longer than 2 days, or if the animal’s illness becomes severe, a veterinarian may decide to put the animal to sleep.
Holds. A foster or rescue group may “hold” any animal by placing a request through BARC.Aid@houstontx.gov with specific information identifying the group or individual, the animal id number, the contact phone number and the name of the individual authorized to pick up on their behalf.
Note: If an animal is on hold that is available for adoption, and someone wishes to adopt the animal before it is picked up by a foster/rescue hold, the adoption will take precedence. In these cases, email will be sent back to the contact information on file, and a phone call will be placed to the phone number in the hold or on file at BARC.
ALL hold requests are to be sent via email only (none will be accepted via phone) with the following required information:
EMAIL SUBJECT: HOLD for (insert animal id number)
In the body of the email, provide the following:
Animal ID #: _______________________
Name of Rescue Group: __________________________________________
Name of designated person for pick-up:______________________________
Contact Phone Number for person placing hold:________________________
Date & Time for pickup:________________________
The hold will be placed for 24 hours, unless otherwise requested, and a confirmation email will be sent back to the requestor. When picking up an animal on hold, please bring a copy of the confirmation email to the front counter during business hours. If you are picking up outside of business hours, please make an appointment via the BARC Aid email address, and a confirmation will be emailed back to you.
It is imperative that all email communications sent through the BARC.Aid@houstontx.gov email address, and contain the animal id number as text in either the email subject line, the body of the email or both. The animal id number is a unique identifier and the primary search criteria in many of the BARC operations.
The Outreach department reviews the euthanasia list each day and compares it against emails received, to see if there is any continued interest or work being done on behalf of an animal. BARC may elect to hold to the animal for an additional period of time for the placement efforts to continue.
Service Level Expecations. All incoming BARC Aid emails will be answered during the following hours and within the specified timeframe:
Monday – Sunday
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Within two hours
Emails received outside of these timeframes will be answered the next day, during these hours. If a response has not been received within one hour during the specified timeframes, please notify Taran Hutchins immediately via email firstname.lastname@example.org.